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Best Questions To Ask To Be Empathetic at Work

June 13, 2022

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A simple yet almighty tool: empathy! The professionals at ASAP love to educate on the importance of being able to sense and comprehend the emotions of others. Empathy is a vital skill in most environments, and it can foster a sense of companionship and trust. These things are vital in any team environment. When you’re looking for ways to express a sense of empathetic understanding, it can be useful to kindly mention an observation about the nonverbal expressions you are perceiving. Body language and tone of voice are both great indicators of the way someone is feeling, and they may not know quite how to express it otherwise. 

Empathize Definition

To empathize directly means to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s all about identifying and being in tune with the things that the people around you are feeling and experiencing. It’s especially important for leaders to be empathetic, as it’s vital for your team to trust your perspective. There are some situations in which it may be more important to empathize than others, like when you feel as though you may have offended someone due to some kind of misunderstanding. 

Empathetic Questions for Inspiration

While you may not use these sentences word for word, they can help you get an idea of how to practice empathetic communication. Acknowledging and inquiring about the impressions you receive from people is a great way to establish a sense of clarity. 

Question #1: “Is there anything you need help with today?”

If you know that someone is exceptionally busy and you have the skill set to assist them, it’s always worth it to ask. This would of course be especially useful if you know you will have extra time at some point. A helping hand can drive projects to their completion, and when you go out of your way to seek places you may be able to be of service, people are sure to remember it. 

Question #2: “How are you feeling?”

Yes, it sounds simple, but this is a wonderful way to show someone that you care enough to acknowledge their state of wellbeing. It is a little more personable than “How are you today?” and it may prompt them to tell you the plain truth about their feelings. It’s useful to know how people are doing, and it’s also useful for them to know you care. If they aren’t well, it gives you the opportunity to express your well wishes, helping them feel that much more appreciated. 

Question #3: “Are you too busy to take on a new task?” 

Sometimes, we forget to check in with our peers before we recruit their assistance. They may already be well on their way to doing something else, but stop their own plans to work with you. While this is surely a kind act, it can help generate a sense of mutual respect if you first ask them about their current circumstance. If they are too busy, they can either address your request at a later time, or you can find someone else to assign the task to. 

Question #4: “Do you know how valuable your work has been this week?”

This is a great segue into an explanation of the value of their work and is best administered after a successful project. According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, a large majority of people who leave jobs voluntarily report a lack of appreciation to be a major reason. Furthermore, only 14% of organizations give managers the necessary tools for reward and recognition programs, so anything you can do to increase morale in this area is a powerful action!


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